St Jude’s Playwright

Michael Church

  • The Kindness of Strangers: The Life of Tennessee Williams by Donald Spoto
    Bodley Head, 409 pp, £12.95, May 1985, ISBN 0 370 30847 6
  • Tennessee Williams on File by Catherine Arnott
    Methuen, 80 pp, £7.95, May 1985, ISBN 0 413 58550 6

‘The bird that I hope to catch in the net of this play is … the true quality of experience in a group of people, that cloudy, flickering, evanescent – fiercely charged! – interplay of live human beings in the thundercloud of a common crisis.’ Who among our contemporary playwrights would dare pen anything so shamelessly romantic? Who would even want to? Certainly not our Brenton-and-Hare political puritans, nor yet our Ayckbourn-and-Frayn tragicomedians. Poverty, disease and disability we encounter in abundance, but as the occasion for either morbidity or schmaltz. The slow but sure revival of interest in Tennessee Williams – this summer Harold Pinter directing Sweet Bird of Youth, and brilliantly – suggests a general awareness that there may currently be a hole where our theatre’s heart should be.

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